Organic amendments increase corn yield by enhancing soil resilience to climate change

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A 22-year field experiment was conducted in Gongzhuling, Jilin province, China to investigate corn yield response to fertilization practice. Compared to an unfertilized control (CK), all fertilization treatments, including inorganic nitrogen fertilizer only (N), balanced inorganic fertilizers (NPK), NPK plus corn straw (SNPK), and NPK plus farmyard manure (MNPK), resulted in significant increases in corn yield. However, only organic matter amendments sustained increasing yield trends, with annual rates of 0.137 and 0.194 t ha− 1 for the SPNK and MNPK treatments, respectively (P < 0.05). During the 22 years, the daily mean, maximum and minimum temperatures increased by 0.50, 0.53, and 0.46 °C per decade, whereas precipitation displayed no significant change but showed large seasonal variation. According to a regression analysis, increased air temperature exerted positive effects on corn yields under the SNPK and the MNPK treatments. Under both treatments, soil organic carbon contents and soil nutrient availabilities increased significantly compared to their initial levels in 1990, whereas soil bulk density and total porosity changed slightly under the two treatments, which showed higher soil water storage than other treatments. In contrast, significant increases in soil bulk density and decreases in soil total porosity and soil nutrient availability were observed under the CK, N and NPK treatments. The contributions of soil fertility to corn yield were 28.4%, 37.9%, 38.4%, 39.0%, and 42.9% under CK, N, NPK, SNPK, and MNPK treatments, respectively, whereas climate changes accounted for 27.0%, 14.6%, 12.4%, 11.8%, and 10.8%. These results indicate that, in Northeast China, organic matter amendments can mitigate negative and exploit positive effects of climate change on crop production by enhancing soil quality.




Song, Z., Gao, H., Zhu, P., Peng, C., Deng, A., Zheng, C., … Zhang, W. (2015). Organic amendments increase corn yield by enhancing soil resilience to climate change. Crop Journal, 3(2), 110–117.

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